Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Not So Separation Anxious Kids

The third day of June for 2013 officially marks the beginning of the school year for most grade and high schools students here in the Philippines. As always one can see the familiar school busses with eager, excited and even sleepy kids in uniform, parents bringing and picking up their kids from school plus the expected moderate to heavy traffic, as what to be expected every time the school year starts. Since I only have my youngest son Red to take care of because he still studies at Pasay City Sped Center, I am thankful that his one on one class only lasts for an hour under the same teacher and that his schedule is still the same, at 8 am which is really not that early. Though Red is now 9 years old and had gotten used to his schedule some kids still catch my attention specially those who have separation anxiety each time school starts.

According to Raising Children Network, "separation anxiety is the fear children have of being parted from their parents or guardians and that it is common among pre schoolers and toddlers." It reaches its peak in babies aged 14-18 months and typically decreases throughout early childhood. Though this is a normal part of development and should not be concerned about, as children reach pre school age they are less likely to experience separation anxiety.


I cannot help but smile how my kids differently managed, handled and survived their first day of classes' experiences. Though I could recall being with them on that first day because they have lots of things to carry and just so they would feel secure with their new environment, still I was able to leave them with their teachers with no fuss and separation anxiety drama. I could even recall how my son Scott told me not to stay long once his day care classes has started and to return home to take care of the household which elicited laughter among the moms who were patiently waiting for their kids until their class ended, telling me that how they wished their kids were as independent as my son. Even  kids who have special needs at Pasay City Sped Center are trained to be independent once school starts. I recall Red falling in line with his classmates and since he was the first among the queue he felt a little insecure and continued to hold my hand. His teacher patiently told him to let go and to lead his classmates to their classroom. Red was uncooperative at first and I was afraid he would create a scene. In the end he cooperated, silently leading his classmates only for us to learn he lead them all not to their room but up to the second floor for a tour which elicited laughter from most parents and teachers including me.

I know that every kid is different and each parent has his unique ways of handling separation anxiety. Through the years I have practiced some basic tips handed down by my mom who was a retired teacher and a great influence on how I was able to raise my not so separation anxious kids. And here are some of them.

* Let your kids visit the school where they will be attending while they are young. Familiarity is a great way to lessen anxiety especially when the school starts. If possible take them with you during school activities, short meet ups with their siblings' teachers and classmates. It would also help to introduce your kids to these people so not to feel alienated with their surroundings.

* Always tell your kids when you are leaving and when you will be back. For me this is very important while the kids are young as it creates security especially during those times that they feel you are not around. Knowing that you will always be back to pick them up will help a lot in getting them settled once school starts.

* Tell stories or watch movies about kids going to school with a happy and secure theme. Letting them   see school kids saying goodbye to their parents or guardians less the drama on their way to their classrooms will be a great motivation once it is their turn to study.

*Lastly trust your kids that they will be okay once you let go of them. This maybe better said than done but if one continue to worry if their kids will make it on their first day of school or not, it will only add to their anxiety

School and learning may have its own share of anxiety when it comes to letting go. Some kids may go through the initial stage with no fuss while others need more understanding than others. As routine and familiarity takes place, alienation is lessened. Who knows at the end of the school year our kids may turn out to be more confident and independent than  we have ever imagined.

1 comment:

  1. I am jealous. Mine have these anxieties. It's hard to psyche them up. However they get better after a month. Thanks for the tips. Good luck to Red!